Saturday, October 4, 2008


My sweet team... We do pyramids.
It has been much too long since I have last written in this blog and I apologize. This post will be epic, I promise…. I hope. I wish I could write about my summer that has led up to me being in Rome but I don’t think I can do that in specifics without boring you all (ok, you three who actually read this blog).
Instead I thought I would fill you in on what it feels like to let go. I just bought “Swallow the Sea” by Matthew Perryman Jones as the end of the summer and the song by the title “Feels Like Letting Go” seems to describe my summer and the lessons in life that God is trying to teach me right now. This summer kicked my butt; it was busy, full of work and family and support raising. I loved parts of it and hated parts of it and to be honest, didn’t like the parts that God was probably teaching me the most in. A good friend once told me “We all long to be refined but once we are in the crucible, we cry out and don’t like it and try to get out.”

I learned a lot about trust this summer and have been learning the same thing since being back in Rome. I have a hard time trusting God when it is something bigger than I can accomplish on my own. And raising all the money to come back to Rome was something bigger than myself. So there were times when I was riding high, after encouraging conversations or support appointments, and just as quickly I would catch a downdraft and my plane of trust would nose dive towards “reality.” However, the reality I was looking at was one that was dependent upon my efforts, not one that trusted God for doing what he does best, which is God-sized stuff. I read recently that “Hosanna!” means “Save us now!” and the author who wrote this said that “Only in God’s Kingdom is a cry for help equal to a shout of praise.”

I needed to be yelling Hosanna! and believing God would actually show up more often this summer and even after I have arrived in Rome. The great thing is that He doesn’t have to wait for me; he still moves to save me from my incompetence. When I arrived here this year, I thought I had it down. After all, I have been in Rome for a year before and I am a capable leader, just check out all the leadership experience on my resume. Instead I found out that I am a pretty selfish guy, being frustrated when others cannot keep up with my pace, and spent a lot of time being upset at what I didn’t know. Hosanna! God answered my call.
We took over a train car on the way to Tuscany
After the first week in Rome, we headed out to Tuscany for a 3-day “Nuovo Inizio” conference for all new staff and Jenny and I stuck around for a couple more days for a leadership conference. God was gracious to “satisfy the weary soul (Jer. 31:25)” with friends and fellowship, teaching that spoke to my heart (2 Cor 3:4-6… if you have never read it, it blew me away), and the beauty of his creation. I felt as if God was saying, “Just like this summer, all I want is for you to trust me. You are enough because I with you and I am enough for you because I am God, the Creator and sustainer.” I want to walk in that truth as we begin this next week as the first week on campus, the first week of the new quarter.

That song “Feels Like Letting Go” that I talked about has a bridge that says “Well I’m stepping out / I cant see and there is no sound / Seeming void becomes the solid ground / Sight I’ve lost becomes the faith I’ve found.” I want to step out, truly let go and step out into the void to find that I am standing on the Solid Rock.
This is what I wrote in my journal one of the mornings, trying to capture the beauty in front of me. “The beauty here is breathtaking. Literally. The sun slowly creeps up over the horizon, illuminating mist covered fields of corn, olive trees, vineyards and rolling lush green woods. The colors shine in a hazy mist, a golden hue that makes one think of fields, rather than streets, of gold. It is a serene setting, only interrupted by birds and the low murmurs of the cattle. The world lies in wait. For another day, a day that brings closer the day of the Lord.”


greg said...

...just as quickly I would catch a downdraft and my plane of trust would nose dive towards “reality.”

that's a sweet line, young brother. I'll give you props on that.

I'll also give you props for recognizing that God can deliver you from your incontenence. (oh, oops, you said "incompetence"--well, either way.)

You are a brilliant man of God, because HE is a brilliant God. It's so important (and FREEING) to release the control to Jesus and to trust that He is sufficient. The interesting thing is that, as we submit to Him, he is faithful to honor the attitude of our heart and--as we get our bulky self out of the way--we can begin to see the miracle of his hand in our lives.

I love all of that. And I love the fact that our Lord cares so much about you that he's carefully teaching you how to draw more fully into his will.


Leigh said...

I look forward to reading each entry of your blog. I love how real you are with everything you write. You're writing encourages me to be more real and passionate about my faith. The part you wrote about realizing your selfishness and being frustrated realizing that others just starting are unable to keep up with a seasoned pro really struck home with me.

I've been struggling recently at work with the exact same thing. I'm the seasoned technician, expecting the new person to understand and do everything...right now. I realized this week that it doesn't work that way. I was reading "Crazy Love" and came across a part that really drove home I Cor 13, especially the parts that talk about love. I know it's old stuff, but applying it to my attitude of others is really challenging. I think the book quoted from the Living translation which talked about love being patient, not demanding its own way, and not being irritable.

Challenging, but with God's reminders, I realized it can be done. Your words certainly affirmed that for me. Thanks!

Stephanie said...

I hope you know how much of an encouragement your blogs are...I'm so thankful that God has given you another year in Rome!
"Commit your way to the Lord, trust in him and he swill do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun." psalm 37:5-6

Christina said...

YAY!!! Looking forward to hearing more about your year in Rome, Chris. You are such an awesome guy...Colin and I missed you tons at the wedding but your phone calls were such a blessing and we're praying for you and the team.

Hosanna in the Highest!

Sara Neumann said...

I'm comment #5 - so therefore, there must be at least 5 people who read your blog, not 3. hehe...

Great to hear from you, bro. I love to hear what you're learning there in Roma. We should chat it up soon so I can catch up on what you all are doing. Tuesday is Worldwide Day of Prayer, so if you guys have requests for us, we'd love to pray for you! :)

Dan Butz said...

Hey Chris, just wanted to let you know that I was one of the 3 people that read your blog this week. I have been thinking a lot about this quote, "All sin is rooted in a lack of trust in God." A.W. Tozer

Dan Butz said...

Hey Chris, just wanted to let you know that I was one of the 3 people that read your blog this week. I have been thinking a lot about this quote that seems to relate to some of your thoughts, "All sin is rooted in a lack of trust in God." A. W. Tozer

shannon said...

I would like to add my comments to the blog--you do have readers! As always, you are an encouragement to me. Today, your blog helped "bring me home." Back to my place in the Lord. I am in the "trying to figure out my life" place, and I am sorry that I was not meant to be in Rome with such a lovely family of believers. Say hello to Ella, Jimmy, and April for me. You are in my prayers. Hopefully, my way will become clear soon!
and ps. can I ask you a funny question? Would you ask around about the Italian Finance minister and a proposal for a New Bretton Woods in the Italian Parliament? Italians are often up on their politics if I remember right--see what you can find out for me. ;)

Amos said...

I love that you talk about hosanna in this post. God has been teaching me so much these past two months of how he is my savior and he wants to save me in everything. Hosanna! Not just a proclamation that he is savior but almost a cry saying, "I need to be saved! Save me!". Awesome.